Let the cake fly.

In which I shove a cake into my brother-in-law’s face, allow my child to try a margarita and narrowly escape a religious debate at the in-laws.

It has been a whirlwind the past few weeks.

We had the kids back for one weekend in July. Tomorrow, they’ll all be back as we settle into our school year routine again. This is a very good thing because Seth just isn’t himself when they aren’t around. He’s there, but not all there. Every single parent knows the feeling…

The kids were also excited to be back together. They hit the jungle gym, each in their own way, each with their favorite trick.

They posed for this picture proudly. Waiting for me to get just the right shot. All three happy to be together again.

They were back for grandma’s birthday.

I took her on a zip line tour, thanks to ZipZone–Columbus’ first zip line canopy tour. With a zip lining trip in Vancouver in my very recent memory, I thought zipping through an Ohio forest would be a cinch. I was completely and entirely taken by surprise.

See those stairs there? They lead to a sky bridge (think Indiana Jones) and then a platform in the trees (with no guard rail). You’re completely safe the entire time but the sky bridges and the tiny platforms got me.

One of our zip lining comrades took this picture. As you can see I’m half crying and laughing. Dale Ann is just loving every minute, no fear in that woman at all.

After our zip lining adventure, everyone came back to the house. Uncle Ben, Seth’s brother Ben, and I got in our first fight. It involved me stuffing a giant piece of birthday cake into his general face area. We both made up shortly after knowing that we’re stuck with each other until death do us part. But I’m pretty sure he’ll never cuss in front of my kids again.

Did I mention that I’m a bit feisty? There are a few personality traits of mine that I have never been able to shake, even as I age. The first is never being able to keep my mouth shut when I should, I always speak my mind. The second is that I am always completely honest about my feelings. This is a direct result of the fact that I can’t lie worth a shit. As a result, my friendships with many are brief but those that make the cut are made to last.

After the caking Uncle Ben and I apologized to each other. He to stop cursing in front of the children and others (it’s not that I don’t, I’m a pirate myself it’s just the context and the frequency and the audience that gets me) and I promised to never take out my aggressive physically (clearly not a good example for the kids either). I love him like he’s my own brother so I act like it and in my family we just let the cake fly.

Beautiful straw. Be mine, or yours?

I started this back on Ms. Single Mama recently and it will continue here. My weekly thrift find giveaway. I absolutely love, love this bag. It has a cute pink, polka dot liner that actually comes up over its contents. Absolutely adorable. Just leave a comment to enter!

And, if you don’t mind (winner, whoever you are) I am going to keep using it until I have to mail it off.

Deadline to enter is Sunday the 29th at Midnight (EST).

 

Westward Ho, Day 1

(It’s Alaina. I’m publishing this for Seth, he is too busy riding and in and out of service.)

The thing about having kids, is you never really can sleep in anymore. All of that awake time gives you more time. For things like packing up

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and going to Ben’s (brother), to help him get geared up,

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Our younger brother, Nathanael, rode up to send us off. So, another picture.

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And then riding

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for 6 hours. With a lot of this to look at Read More…

Solo for a spell.

Seth left this morning (Saturday) on his trip out West and Lily and Cohen are with their mother.

So here we are.

Just Benjamin and I. It’s bitter sweet. Bitter because of the missing. The family of five, down to two suddenly. But sweet because I can focus on Benjamin solely. Familiar territory for me and him and just like riding a bike.

Today we headed down into the hills and Athens, Ohio (my hometown)

20120721-204853.jpgto help spread the word about this story telling and grant competition. Athens is hard to describe, hence the contest.

In Athens, you never know just who you will meet or what you will see

In fact, people have been known to come to Athens and then never leave. Spontaneous Athenians, or Townies. Happens all of the time. Some say it’s the energy of the place, currents running underneath. Others say it’s the spirits (Athens is known as one of the most haunted planes on Earth).

For me, it’s the bubble I feel as soon as I’m there.The rest of the world seems to fall away Read More…

Bringing home the bacon

Alaina: “Rachel Ray lost 47 pounds? How?!”

Me: “She probably stopped eating all the nasty shit she cooks on TV”

Then I made a mountain of french toast and bacon.

lily staring at a pile of french toast and bacon

Keep the shiny side up.

-Seth

Get ready to ride

Next week, I’m riding this

frosty motorcycle

with this guy (my brother) and his bike

Ben

To Sturgis, South Dakota, the Black Hills, and Yellowstone. That’s the first 4 days. Not sure where we’ll be on days 5-9. But on day 10, I’ll be home.

With the love of my life

These gremlins

our kids

And this awesome dog

archer the dog

Anybody have places I should eat? World’s largest balls of yarn I should see? Let me know!

Ride Safe

-Seth

Love on pavement.

I see our shadows on the pavement. Mine behind his. Slowly we become one before disappearing completely as we turn with the curve of the freeway, approved West. The sun is on us now and we have three more hours left to Louisville. In a car that would be one thing, but on the back of a bike it’s another thing entirely.

He lets his hand down every time we pass another biker. It’s a signal. Wheels down. His arm falls straight, fingers pointing to the ground. Down, not up, like the wheels should be. It’s a universal code they all know. Only bikers to bikers. Not bikers to scooters or bikers to cyclists. And if you break it? If you don’t simultaneously lower your hand with the fingers pointing to the ground… well, I’m not entirely sure what happens. Maybe your karma is jacked and your wheels turn up?

The countryside flies by.

First Cincinnati with its skyscrapers, metal and glass shining against the blue Ohio sky. Reds fans filing in to catch their Saturday game. The Ohio River rushes underneath as we head south into Kentucky. Every hour, at least, he’ll bring his hand to my knee and rest it there for a minute before putting it back on the handle bar. We both have full face helmets on so we can’t talk. We communicate instead with touch only. My hands on his back, his hand on my knee. My breath on his neck.
I don’t look down. I learned that lesson the first time we rode. Out of curiosity I glanced directly down to the concrete beneath us. There was no way to focus I was overcome with the reality of it all. We were on a motorcycle rushing forward at 60 miles an hour and there were cars and pavement, exhaust and semi-trucks– all of them brutally close– surrounding us. After my first long ride I jumped off and could barely stand. My face felt like it had been stuck in a wind tunnel for an hour, my head like it had been in a vice and my body ached.

“I don’t get it,” I said. “It’s awesome, for sure, but it’s kind of boring. I’m just sitting there, trying not fight the wind and keep the hair out of my mouth.”

“Yeah,” he said matter-of-factly, “You’re the kind of woman who needs her own bike.”

“Really?” I was shocked at this statement. I had never, in my wildest dreams, ever imagined driving a motorcycle.

“Yep. Definitely.”

Ever since I have to admit, I’ve been pondering the possibility. But for now, being on the back will have to do. Since that first long ride I have become accustomed to the bike. More so, I even crave rides. I accepted the bike long ago when he asked me not to make him choose, “between you and the bike. I’ll choose you, but don’t ask me.”

One thing we promised to each other when we met was to never ask the other to change, whether intentionally or inadvertently. I immediately dropped the notion of him ever not riding and then forced him to buy and wear a full face helmet as a compromise. I bought myself one as well. Also to ease my anxiety we looked up statistics on motorcycle deaths and they’re actually very rare (.07%) and most involve alcohol, speeding, or driving at night. I can only hope that his wheels are always down because his motorcycle is a part of who he is. And I get it. I do. It is fun, tremendous in fact. Riding a motorcycle is like riding a bike with a jet pack underneath and my inner child loves it.

On the way home from Louisville we took the back roads instead of the highway.

I took these pictures during the trip.

Before we left, trying on my new helmet. A Nolan N90. It’s bad ass and comfortable.

My view from the back of his bike.

The coolest yard art. Ever.

Louisville.

On our way into a blues bar. We had all intentions of going to the Forecastle music festival but bailed after a long day of riding.

Scary. Coal burning power plants along the Ohio River.

The ride was a test to see how I would do for four hours on the bike. The four hour ride turned into eight hours thanks to pop up storms and us taking our sweet time on the back roads. In the end, the bike won and I lost, the back seat is too uncomfortable for long rides. So, I will be staying home next week when Seth leaves for Yellowstone National Park with his brother Ben. He’ll be riding there and back in 10 days.

And I will be home with my little Mr. Benjamin. And maybe, just maybe – if I can find the time and the courage – taking some motorcycle lessons.

 xoxo – Alaina

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